Category Archives: FOOD

Examples of my food writing which include restaurant reviews, memoirs and recipe reviews as well as photos of my food dishes.

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Date squares were one of my favourite snacks when I was a kid. My mom would make them regularly and the whole house would be filled with a sweet, buttery aroma.  She was strict about junk food and never bought any sugary cereals, cookies or candies.  As an adult I’m really thankful that I was raised in a healthy household.  My eating habits are generally well balanced, and I tend to favour savoury and salty, treating desserts as an indulgence.  I have my mom to thank for that.  And I also have her to thank for my love of date squares!  I tried to recreate my childhood dessert with these Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares.  Why are they gluten free you may wonder?  Well because April is detox time!

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

For me, detox is a time to restart the system and shed bad habits, but is also an opportunity to experiment with my favourite recipes and turn them into cleanse friendly foods.  These date squares use gluten free flour and oats, and are sweetened with honey and a few drops of liquid Stevia.  I replaced the butter with coconut oil, that still results in a light, buttery crumble. Additionally, I also included some coconut flour to bring out a bit of sweet coconut flavour. Because, more coconut is always a good thing!

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

These Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares are an awesome detox snack because they’re completely cleanse friendly without sacrificing any of the date square tastiness.  Creamy dates are sandwiched between soft, sweet and flaky crumble with hints of coconut and citrus.  Packed full of iron, fiber and magnesium, dates are also said to help with intestinal issues, reduce allergies and can also help to maintain weight, a healthy heart, and aid in sexual stamina.  High in natural sugars and protein, these date squares are a great energy boost pre-work out or a yummy recovery snack post work out.

So basically, you can’t go wrong with these babies. Gimme gimme all of them date squares!

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares
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Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

A healthy, post work out snack, these gluten free dates squares are easy to make and are full of delicious nutrients.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine healthy, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 25
Calories 190 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Parnoosh dates chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1.5 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, plus more for greasing melted
  • 3/4 cup organic honey
  • 2 drops liquid Stevia

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9" square baking dish.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, boil water. Add dates and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until water is absorbed and dates are smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.

  3. Combine the flours, oats and salt. Add coconut oil, then honey (using the same cup, so that the syrup will slide right out) and liquid Stevia. Mix until crumbly but still moist.

  4. Divide crumb mixture into two portions and press one half firmly into the pan to make the base. Using a spatula, carefully spread the date mixture evenly over top. Add the remaining crumb mixture on top by taking small bits and placing them carefully over the dates. Do not spread. Lightly press down the top layer evenly with your hands.

  5. Bake on the center oven rack for 25 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into 25 squares. Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to one week or freeze up to two months. Best served at room temperature.

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

What was your favourite childhood snack?  How is your spring cleanse going?

What are some of your favourite detox substitutions?  I would love to know!

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Spring is in the air, and that means salad season is here! I want lots of big, beautiful, fresh salads full of awesome, yummy ingredients. With Easter around the corner, we’re all on the lookout for delicious dishes to make for a big group dinner, so I’ve decided to share this Big Italian Salad with you just for the occasion.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

My boyfriend is half Italian so over the years my consumption of olives, cured meat and artichokes has increased, and you could say, they have added more flavour to my life (though, he might have a little something to do with that too!). We try our very best to eat salads regularly, but find it challenging to keep ‘em interesting. There’s only so much tomato and cucumber you can consume before you hit a salad slump. And let’s face it, when all is said and done, I’m a meat and carbs kind of gal.

Yum. Meat.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

But the great thing about my Big Italian Salad is, it has meat! And cheese! The parmesan and salami add just the right amount of salty creaminess. Fresh romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet bursts of cherry tomatoes, crunchy licorice-infused fennel and velvety artichokes. Finally, the bright pop of the olives brings the whole salad to life.

This, my friends, is not your average, boring salad.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

A light, lemony vinaigrette that incorporates some of the artichoke marinade ties the whole dish together. Before you can say “you can’t make friends with salad” you’ll be happily chowing down on a big mouthful of all things Italian.

Big Italian Salad
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Big Italian Salad

This Big Italian Salad is full of awesome, fresh ingredients. Romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy fennel, creamy artichokes and salty salami, olives and parmesan.
Course Healthy, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 small head of Romaine lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1 small radicchio finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 half fennel thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green and kalamata olives pitted and finely sliced
  • 2 ounces salami or your fave cured meat finely diced
  • 227 grams marinated artichokes finely sliced, marinade reserved
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggianocheese grated

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 half lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cheese in a large bowl.
  2. In a food processor or medium bowl combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil. Slowly add oil while whisking or mixing on low.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and sprinkle cheese over top. Toss and serve immediately.

I could seriously eat this entire bowl in one sitting. The salad is so fresh and lightly dressed that all the other flavours are allowed stand out, and it’s addictive. But, one must learn to share, so here you go my friends, some salad to go with your roasted ham.

What are you making for your big Easter dinner?  Let me know if you liked my Big Italian Salad and what type of cured meat is your favourite!

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

My love for lamb has grown steadily over the years to the point where I prefer lamb over a beef burger. Lamb meat has an earthier, more complex flavour than beef. I find that it tends to be juicier and bonus: way more health benefits. From Shepherd’s Pie to lasagna, I post a lot about this gamey protein. Surprisingly, I haven’t posted tacos, and you know how much I love Taco Tuesday! So I decided that for St. Patrick’s Day, I would make some special Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos, just for you.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

St. Patrick’s Day is bittersweet for me. I never got into the festivities when I was at university because I didn’t live in residence and missed out campus life. It wasn’t until I met my half Irish ex-husband that I started celebrating this day. Our first date was at an Irish pub on St. Paddy’s so whenever I see drunken folk clad in green, it reminds me of him. Not in a bad way, but in a no-regrets-fond-memories kind of way.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

This taco recipe is based on my Slow Cooked Lamb recipe that features my latest food find: lamb from Costco.

Gotta love $35 for a leg of lamb!

The only change I made to my original recipe is I swapped the wine and beef broth for, you guessed it – beer! I covered the lamb with a whole can of Guinness, because on St. Paddy’s no beer can go to waste. How I love to cook with booze! The strong Irish stout cuts through the fatty lamb and adds a whole level of richness to the meat. The result? Tender fall-apart lamb infused with hints of espresso and caramel. Oh yeah baby, tonight is your lucky taco night!

I loaded this taco with a wallop of fresh guacamole, arugula, caramelized onions and banana peppers and topped the lamb with organic salsa, feta cheese and my favourite hot sauce.

Half a lamb leg still makes a ton of meat. We had enough taco meat for four people, and I turned the remaining lamb and root vegetables into a ragu.  An endless supply of lamb is always a good thing!

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos
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Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos! Fresh corn tortillas are packed with tender lamb, fresh guacamole and arugula, grilled banana peppers, caramelized onions and topped with feta cheese and organic salsa. May the spirit of the Irish live on through these deliciously rich tacos!
Course Events and Holidays, Healthy, Main Dish, Poultry, Slow Cooker
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

For the lamb

  • 3 pounds leg of lamb approx half a leg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and trimmed
  • half a lemon zested
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 pounds root vegetables ie. squash, carrots, parsnips
  • 1 500ml can Guinness beer

For the tacos

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, trimmed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for greasing
  • half a lemon quartered
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 banana peppers trimmed, seeds removed and sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions trimmed, peeled and sliced
  • 16 fresh corn tortillas
  • 2 cups arugula roughly chopped
  • 170 grams feta cheese crumbled
  • half cup organic salsa
  • your favourite hot sauce

Instructions

For the lamb

  1. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat.
  2. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Using tongs, sear each side for 30 seconds. Remove lamb and place on plastic cutting board.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon zest, remaining tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, mint and rosemary. Process and spread paste over lamb, making sure to get into all the little crevices.
  4. Place lamb over top of root vegetables in slow cooker and pour beer over top.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours, then for 1 hour on low.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, lamb from slow cooker and pull large chunks apart using a carving fork. reserve root vegetables for later use.

For the tacos

  1. Combine avocados, garlic, olive oil and juice from two lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grease cast iron pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute banana peppers and onions until lightly browned, approx 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, place tortillas on a plate and wrap in syran wrap. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  4. Top corn tortilla with guacamole, arugula, lamb, peppers and onions. Sprinkle feta cheese, lemon and a tablespoon of salsa over top. Add hot sauce to taste.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

So if you’re feeling the spirit of the Irish, throw some beer in your slow cooker and honour St. Patrick with these awesome tacos!

What food do you make to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  Did you like the addition of beer to these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos?